Ferdinand Johann Zollinger
Contributor: J_Hitchcock Created: 6 months ago Updated: 6 months ago
Ferdinand Johann Zollinger
Ferdinand Johann Zollinger was born 18 October 1829 at Flunten, Switzerland, the eldest of eight children of John Zollinger and Elizabeth Usteri. His parents were living in Zurich when they became acquainted with the gospel. Ferdinand was very bitter toward the Mormons and one day in the late fall of 1861 he and his brother Jacob were picking apples in their father’s orchard, when they saw their parents wending their way toward the Limmit River to be baptized. He began to curse and swear and make threats against the Elders who had enticed his parents to join the church.
They had a custom there among the farmers of helping each other with their threshing. So, that evening a neighbor sent word to Ferdinand for him to come and help him with the threshing. The grain was stacked in his barn and when he got through and was coming down from the barn, he slipped and fell, injuring his leg. He was laid up for several weeks. This gave him plenty of opportunity to think and to read the scriptures. He became convinced of the truthfulness of the message brought by the Elders, so he and his younger brother, Jacob, and sister Doretha set the date for December 16, 1861 to be baptized. The Elders came and they held a meeting in their house the evening before to which the town officials and other people came and they heard the message of Mormonism. The next day they walked a mile to the place set for baptism. Ferdinand had to go on his crutches, to the joy of the family. He was 32 years old at this time. The next morning he loaded some sacks of potatoes to take to the city. The sacks weighed about two hundred pounds. He did this alone to the astonishment of his neighbors. His parents have looked upon this incident as the hand of the Lord in bringing to him the truthfulness of Mormonism.
After joining the Church, he too, desired to immigrate to Zion. So, he accompanied his father’s family when they left Zurich for America on 1 May 1862. In their company also was a young woman by the name of Louise Meier, a convert, who was happy for the opportunity to travel with them to Zion. Ferdinand and Louise fell in love and were married at LaHavre, France on 12 May 1862.
On the 15th of May they sailed from France on a freighter manned by rough Irish sailors. There were more than one hundred saints who took passage on that sailing vessel. The voyage was rough and they endured many hardships.
They arrived in New York July 8th and Florence, Nebraska on July 20th 1862. They remained in Florence three weeks busily preparing for their trip west. On the 9th of August they started and were the last company to go west that year. They traveled in the William H. Dame Company. The farther traveled the greater their hardships.
As they were traveling along the Platte River they passed through a grove of cottonwood trees. Ferdinand and another man were out scouting when they saw something in a tree top wrapped in a buffalo robe and tied together with ropes. Ferdinand climbed the tree to see what was inside and when he undid the ropes he discovered a dead Indian. He quickly descended the tree. The stench made him ill and together with mountain fever he had to remain in his bed and he never walked a step further until he got to Salt Lake Valley. When they arrived in the mountains it had begun to snow and was very cold. On October 30th they arrived at the mouth of Emigration Canyon.
Ferdinand and his wife accompanied his father’s family to Providence, Utah, taking a whole week to make the trip from Salt Lake City. In Providence he helped to build the community and helped protect the settlers from the Indians. He became a successful farmer and while he did not accumulate a vast fortune, he was an honorable, hardworking, straightforward citizen, respected by all.
He was called to aid the soldiers from Fort Douglas to ward off attacks from the Indians in what was called the Black Hawk War.
He occupied various positions in the Church and was a High Priest at the time of his death on December 16, 1912 at the age of 83 years, one month and seventeen days. Burial was in the Providence, Utah cemetery.
Compiled by Jennie Smart Nuffer, December 1953.
Information source – History of Zollinger family by Will Zollinger;
Articles published in “The Journal” Logan, Utah, May 11 and December 17 1912.
Re typed by Pat Stead, April 2003